6 London (Greenwich, Tower Bridge, Tilbury) First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

This was my first cruise, and probably my last. Cruising simply is not for me. Over and above that I have a few grumbles some of which apply as much to a hotel as a ship. The lifts in the Magellan are very slow {very}. And yet half the ... Read More
This was my first cruise, and probably my last. Cruising simply is not for me. Over and above that I have a few grumbles some of which apply as much to a hotel as a ship. The lifts in the Magellan are very slow {very}. And yet half the lifts are not in use or don't work. The crew and all their odds and ends also use the lifts, thus I travelled up and down at various times with, a table, a stack of chairs, and a large trolley. not a good impression. everything about the ship says "hotel" and yet there is no shoe polisher or cleaner. Embarkation at the start of the cruise and disembarkation at the end was fine, but getting on and off the ship for shore excursions was painfully slow. All passengers are issued with a cruise card, which have to be swiped by a crew member, each time you leave or board the ship. In a card wont read or scan correctly the entire queue has to wait. Twice we had to stand out on the quay for well over 15 minutes. It didn't rain, but I would have been furious if it had. The gangway, was, for the most part a narrow single gangway, fixed to a low deck, where the effect of the tide has a dramatic effect on the gangway angle and the height of the ship above the gangway. thus people with crutches and wheelchairs had great difficulty, and to watch some of the people with a whole range of disabilities negotiating the gangway, sideways and having to duck deep to avoid banging their heads at the same time was a depressing sight. Too much emphasis at booking is put on Dress code and formality. Casual is fine and most people seemed happy to be casual except for the odd Formal evening. We had a very pleasant cruise without the need of party frocks and dinner suits. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Although I cruise regularly this was my first time on the Cruise & Maritime Voyages "Magellan. The cruise was entitled "land of the Northern Lights". The ship called in Amsterdam for sightseeing and to pick up Dutch ... Read More
Although I cruise regularly this was my first time on the Cruise & Maritime Voyages "Magellan. The cruise was entitled "land of the Northern Lights". The ship called in Amsterdam for sightseeing and to pick up Dutch passengers. The ship sailed from Tilbury, a port I haven't used for many years. Although not the most attractive cruise terminal the boarding procedure was one of the most swif and efficient I have encountered. The time between my arrival at the terminal and boarding the ship was less than 20 minutes. My luggage arrived at my cabin a few minutes later. The ship looked very attractive and in good condition. However, there are some aspects of its design which mar the cruise experience. There is no promenade deck which is an essential on a cruise ship. In addition, there is a quirky layout of the public rooms whereby it is not possible to walk through some decks. I had an outside cabin on deck 6 which was sold as a single cabin but had a double bed and was quite spacious. It had plenty of storage space, a picture window, television and efficient air conditioning.There was a personal safe which was unreliable and had to be repaired on three occasions. The one thing that the cabin lacked was tea/coffee making facilities. The public rooms were quite spacious and quite well laid out. The library was much too small. The theatre which was on two levels was spectacular but perhaps too large. It was greatly under-used. I dined in the Waldorf restaurant which was also on two levels. There were allocated tables for dinner and open seating for for breakfast and lunch there and in the Kensington restaurant. As an alternative all meals, afternoon tea and all-day tea/coffee service could be taken in the Raffles self-service bistro. The quality of the food was good but the menus were rather limited. The dinner menus were a trifle lacking in imagination and there were few beef or lamb dishes. Breakfast menus were fine and the expert omelette chef was a star performer. One oddity was that there was no choice of fruit juices, it was orange or orange! The daytime entertainment followed the normal pattern but the lectures were somewhat unimaginative and lacked variety. The evening "Showtime" entertainment was very limited and wasn't helped on more than one occasion for announcements of sightings of the Norther Lights. The shore excursions at the many fascinating ports of call were good although the on-board organisation of these was a little hit or miss. It would be hard to pick out the best ports of call as they all had good points but Alta and its great Tirpitz museum, the North cape and the Trondheim heritage train were very enjoyable. Although I didn't take an excursion there the visit to the lovely village of Olden was a time to remember. Many members of the the staff gave friendly and excellent service but overall the service left a great deal to be desired. The service in the lounged was often poor with unenthusiastic staff often seeming indifferent to the wishes of passengers. Lunchtime in the Waldorf restaurant when the ship was at sea could only be describes as chaotic. There seems to be a serious lack of effective and experienced supervisors to ensure good service. Overall, the itinerary was excellent and the sightings of the Northern lights spectacular but the cruise lacked character. The cruise directors was hyper-active and was much too fond of giving extended messages on the intercom. Many of my travelling companions comments that it reminded them of a holiday camp of yesteryear. The international staff, many from Eastern Europe, were a mixed back and are much in need of training to bring the service up to an acceptable level. It was very much a basic, low-cost holiday which might suit first time cruises but does not compare with Fred. Olsen or P&O. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was my Husband and I's first cruise (apart from River boats in Germany and The Netherlands). We were both slightly apprehensive having read reviews about the Magellan. I'll start with the good points. Embarkation at ... Read More
This was my Husband and I's first cruise (apart from River boats in Germany and The Netherlands). We were both slightly apprehensive having read reviews about the Magellan. I'll start with the good points. Embarkation at Tilbury was easy and well managed. On the whole the food was good and there was always plenty of choice at all meal times. The crew in the restaurants and bars were always pleasant, smiling and polite and we had some very interesting conversations with some of the crew about their various home countries and how they had come to be serving as crew on the Magellan. Our Cabin stewards were also very nice and all crew worked extremely hard day and night. I have to commend the cleaning members of the crew, they never stop polishing and cleaning. The shore excursions were well managed and free courtesy buses were at most ports for people who just wanted to do their own thing once ashore. However, as someone has mentioned, it really did have the feel of a floating holiday camp! We quite expected a "hi di hi, good morning campers" to come over the speakers. The Cruise Director was really over the top and always seemed to be shouting and yet the Captain who gave a daily announcement mumbled away and no-one could hear what he was saying. What is laughingly called a bistro is a throw back to a Woolworths restaurant and for some reason people seemed to sit there most of the day in order to get a table. Thankfully we only had to eat in there once for lunch as we'd been out on an excursion and missed lunch in the restaurant. We originally booked a mid ships inside cabin on deck 5 but were upgraded to an outside cabin towards the back of the ship and it was awful! The noise of the engine and some kind of squealing of machinery meant we had no sleep at all. We reported it once and when on night 3 it was even worse my husband again complained at reception in the middle of the night and we were moved to an inner cabin on deck 6 for the night. We were then offered an outside cabin on deck 4 and that was horrible but we put up with it. The engine noise was constant and the shower didn't work properly. I know people pay a lot of money for vibrating beds but all they need to do is sleep in cabin 4120! The Magellan is an old worn out ship, the noise of the engines is ridiculous and the smell of diesel was dreadful. She should be taken out of service. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Apart from 2 three day short cruises this was our first experience of a long time at sea. First let me say that I cannot fault any of the ships crew or service received. The food was excellent and plenty of it. The down sides for us were ... Read More
Apart from 2 three day short cruises this was our first experience of a long time at sea. First let me say that I cannot fault any of the ships crew or service received. The food was excellent and plenty of it. The down sides for us were as follows: The drinks were all very expensive and as someone else remarked the bottled water was a ridiculous price. We bought ours from some of the ports that we stopped at. We had to smuggle on some reasonably priced wine to drink in our cabin and managed to get past the check in without having it confiscated! The entertainment got a bit boring after the third night with the same old faces and the dance routines were the same but in different costumes. There were never any great films put on at any time during the day - just really old stuff. Not having an on board cinema I would have thought that they could have found some better and more up to date films? The days at sea between ports went on forever - and with a tiny pool that I only saw one or two people use. One of my personal dislikes was the amount of Scots on board - sorry, but we cannot all like them! On formal evenings why do they have to wear those daft kilts?!! - We Englishmen dont come to dinner in our traditional Redcoats do we? Still, that as I said is personal and nothing to do with the cruise line. So we were glad to get back to Tilbury. The final bill was pretty steep even though we had tried to keep our drinking to an unfun level and then of course they take about £150 for tips as well - which one member of the crew told me they dont ever see? Maybe we are hard to please? But I did try hard to enjoy this holiday but by the end of the first week I was going stir crazy. I dont think we would ever go again and certainly not for two weeks. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
We recently returned from the Scandinavian Capitals and St.Peterburg cruise on 4th - 16th October. This was our first cruise and frankly, had we had not spoken to a number of fellow passengers on the ship, it would have been our ... Read More
We recently returned from the Scandinavian Capitals and St.Peterburg cruise on 4th - 16th October. This was our first cruise and frankly, had we had not spoken to a number of fellow passengers on the ship, it would have been our last. We were told not to judge this ship with others. Firstly, l would like to say that the ship was very clean and the crew were all friendly and helpful. I wish the rest of the cruise had been as positive. On day one, we had a lifeboat drill and had to meet at the Marco Polo lounge. When we neared the Captains club, I commented to my wife that l could smell cigarette smoke. When we entered the Captains Club, there were dozens of people smoking. We were both disgusted at this being allowed inside of the ship. The only way to the Marco Pole lounge was through this disgustingly smelly room. The food on day one was excellent, getting worse by the day... More often than not the food was warm bordering on cold. Fresh food was out of the question. The Marco Polo Bistro was open from 06.30 - 07.00 for drinks and then open at 07.30 for breakfast. A couple of people told us that the fried eggs were being put out before 07.00am. As you can imagine they were not upto much at 07.30. One night there was a German theme. It appeared that sausages and frankfurters were being cooked to order. By the time we had put some on the plate with some watery salad and sat down, these were cold. How, l don't know. Fresh fruit was ok on day one and went down hill each day. It appeared that all of the fruit was loaded in England and no new supplies were picked up after that. We don't actually like black bananas. Every day for afternoon tea were the same dried out sandwiches and cakes galore. It would have been nice to have been served a few savouries, especially as my wife is Diabetic and all that was on offer were sugary cakes. I can't imagine us sailing with Cruise Maritime again, which is a pity because our next cruise is/was going to be to the Norwegian Fjords. I just hope our next cruise will not be as disappointing as this one... Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
We have just returned from the Northern Lights cruise and were extremely lucky to have an excellent view of them. This was our first cruise and to be honest probably our last. We are used to renting a self catering apartment and a car to ... Read More
We have just returned from the Northern Lights cruise and were extremely lucky to have an excellent view of them. This was our first cruise and to be honest probably our last. We are used to renting a self catering apartment and a car to do our own thing. The cruise reminded us of Butlins from the seventies, set times for everything and rather dated entertainment, although the duo in Scotts bar during the evening were very good, particularly Lilli Moore, the singer ( I recommend her rendition of Mack the Knife) The food was very good and the staff, apart from the odd one, were excellent although the officers were a bit standoffish. You will be plagued by photographers but you are not obliged to buy. The drinks on board were a rip off, £5 for a glass of poor quality house wine for example, which varied in size depending on the barman. A bottle at dinner requires a spend of at least £20 for something worth drinking. The cocktails also vary in size and quality. I suggest you take good quality teabags with you as Lyons tea is somewhat bland. If you wish to partake in excursions then please check the Internet as they are a lot cheaper and many of the trips ashore can be done by free shuttle bus, local buses and trains. You must have good medical insurance as the cost of treatment on the ship will give you a coronary when you get the bill! I know it is easy to criticise but the majority of passengers were pensioners, as I am, and we have to count the pennies so be aware of the costs I have mentioned. Overall we enjoyed the trip and I would recommend the ship but we will not be back. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010

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